Finally, after several attempts, we tried Shawns on Main in Morro Bay last night.
We had made a reservation, so we got seated quickly in the tiny space. Its decoration is unique, especially for Morro Bay, with lights inside blue bottles hanging from the ceiling, black cushions and big, red pillows for seats, and bold artwork. The tables are small and close together the couple next to us shared both their bottles of wine freely with my friend and I, and I had a close seat next to the mayor on my other side. Kind of cozy. I liked it.
We both settled on the four-course chefs menu, $37 with wine pairings, $25 without; I had the first and my friend had the second. This is a small-plates place, so its either the chefs menu or two to three small plates ($7-10 apiece) for each person. Tiny portions.
The wine pairings were generous, local (3 out of 4 were Paso Robles) and for the most part, quite good. Neither my friend nor I liked the Spanish selection, but one out of four isnt bad.
(First, an amuse bouche of light, tomato-ey gazpacho delicious though not spicy, enough for one mouthful.)
Oven roasted tomato and goat cheese bruschetta with balsamic reduction. The tomato was surprisingly cold, and the cheese was perfect. It was two little crusts of bread I couldve eaten more of this. The reduction was very, very syrupy sweet, drizzled around the plate. Mmm.
Tomato basil bisque. Creamy and warm, very comforting on a chilly, drizzly Morro Bay night. Not enough basil.
Lamb medallions with olive tapenade, arugula and whipped potatoes. The lamb was wonderful, lots of flavor. I loved how everything went together.
Medium rare chocolate cake, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with syrups. I liked the tartness of what I think was strawberry syrup. The cake was dense, moist and lava-hot in the center, with melted chocolate sliding out as I cut into it. Ive never had a cake like this before. I would definitely have it again, though this is the only time I felt slightly guilty finishing all of that richness.
The service, unfortunately, was dismally slow. When the one waitress finally did get to our table, she spent less than 30 seconds with us like, drop the wine and run.
I understand shes pulled a dozen different ways and theres really only one of her (I think the chefs mom was helping behind the bar, too) but for heavens sake, at least take a minute to answer a question or see if we need anything. It was quite poor. I usually give a 20 percent tip, but this time I stuck to 15. I know, theyre trying.
Shawn has a great wine list with lots of local stuff, if youre interested in trying Central Coast vino. He has many half bottles (Tolosa Pinot is always a safe bet) and lots of sake, for some reason. He says it goes well with a lot of his food, which tends to include lots of root vegetables and balsamic-soy reductions. These are good things. :-)
Id go to Shawns again, maybe as an after-dinner place if hes open after we see a movie or something. The small plates would be great for 9 p.m. after youve had an early dinner. I think, though, that he might only stay open as long as he has reservations or people coming in, because I heard him say at one point last night, duck, pork and then were going home! It was a little after 9.
If anyone else has been here, what was your experience? Do you think this guy will stick around?